SFA E-zine - The Tuesday Edition

Dear Member, 


Welcome to this edition of the SFA e-zine. 


Following the Budget 2020, there has been an update made to paid Parents Leave.  The Government announced that both parents can avail of two weeks paid Parent’s Leave, to be enacted by 1 November 2019. 


The SFA welcomes the Brexit deal done last week between the UK and EU. As we move ever closer to the UK leaving the European Union we provide members with information on how to correctly ‘CE’ mark your product post- Brexit.  


Book on to some of our free webinars coming up over the next month and get some valuable information without leaving your office.  Tomorrow on Wednesday, 23 October, SFA HR Executive Helen Quinn giving a presentation on age diversity as part of our diversity series, and on 20 November we have partnered with the Personal Injuries Assessment Board to help our members learn more about the personal injuries assessment process.


It's Fraud Awareness week and FraudSMART has released some tips on how to protect your business from fraud.


We are just 3 weeks away from the SFA Annual Lunch on 15 November 2019 with keynote speaker David Meade.  It is an excellent opportunity for small businesses in Ireland to come together and network in a relaxed environment, make sure you book your seat today.


Finally, a reminder that the 2019/2020 SFA Awards programme will close for applications on Friday, 25 October 2019. You can apply either yourself or you can nominate a small business that you believe will be a worthy winner of Ireland's next ‘Best Small Business Awards’. The SFA Awards are open to all small businesses whether you are a member or non-member. Check out what category suits your business best. 

As always, we’d love to hear from you about any queries you may have, issues you wish to have raised with Government or other stakeholders and your ideas on how we can improve the business environment for us all. Please contact me on tel: 01 605 1602 or e-mail: sven@sfa.ie or tweet: @SFA_Irl or visit: www.sfa.ie.


Kind regards, 

Sven Spollen-Behrens

SFA Director

SFA in the media
  • Budget 2020


The SFA featured in the following publications.


Budget 2020

SFA response to Budget 2020 was covered in The Echo (Cork) on 11 October.




New Parent’s Leave expected to be in enacted by 1 November 2019

In the budget the Government announced that both parents can avail of two weeks paid Parent’s Leave. Read on to learn more about this new family leave entitlement….

The Parent’s Leave and Benefit Bill is expected to be enacted by 1 November 2019. When it comes into force it will give both parents of the child two weeks paid parental leave to be taken within the first year of the child’s life. The payment of €245 per week will be made by the State.


It has been introduced to enable both parents to spend more time with their child during the first year of their life and will be in addition to the following protective leaves:

  • 26 weeks of paid maternity leave and up to 16 weeks unpaid additional maternity leave to mothers
  • 2 weeks of paid paternity leave to fathers to be taken within 6 months after the birth of the child
  • 24 weeks of paid adoptive leave to adopting mothers and sole male adopters as well as up to 16 weeks of unpaid additional adoptive leave
  • 22 weeks of unpaid parental leave for each child to each parent and the leave must be taken before the child reaches 12 years or 16 years in the case of a child with a disability or long-term illness

It is expected that this two weeks’ benefit will expand to either seven or nine weeks’ leave by 2021 and the following elements will apply:

  • Each parent will be entitled to the leave where the birth date of the child falls on or after 1 November 2019 or the day of placement in the case of adoption is on or after 1 November 2019
  • An employee will be required to have 12 months continuous service in order to qualify for this parental leave
  • The leave is non-transferable between parents, except in cases where one parent dies, all or any remaining leave is transferred to the other parent
  • The parental leave must be taken within the first year of the child’s life otherwise the benefit is lost if it is not used
  • The parental leave is not allowed to be taken before the date of birth or in the case of adoption, before the date of placement
  • The period of leave taken cannot be less than one week in duration. For example, a parent can take two individual weeks off or the entire two weeks leave together
  • Each parent who takes this leave continues to accrue annual leave and public holiday entitlement
  • Employees who take this leave are entitled to return to the same role, terms and conditions of employment when they return to work
  • The employee is required to give the employer a minimum of 6 weeks written notice of their intention to take this leave

In response to the rise of family leaves that are now available the SFA have produced a Family Leave Entitlements at a Glance chart which you can download here.


If you have any specific concerns or questions please contact Helen on 01 605 1668 or at helen.quinn@sfa.ie or visit the advice section on our website www.sfa.ie/advice

Do you use a UK Notified Body?

As we move ever closer to the UK leaving the European Union we provide members with information on how to correctly ‘CE’ mark your product post- Brexit...

If you currently ‘CE’ mark your product under EU rules, you will still be required to do so post-Brexit, as pre-existing EU rules will still apply within Ireland.


The EU Commission has advised that all EU product suppliers, who currently rely on a UK Notified Body for certification of conformity to support their product declaration for CE marking purposes, must obtain these services from an alternative EU Notified Body to ensure unhindered access to the EU market post-Brexit.


If your business currently relies on a UK Notified Body, you need to either:

  • Transfer your files from your UK Notified Body to an EU-27 Notified Body.
  • Obtain a new certificate which has been issued by an EU-27 Notified Body.
  • You should find out whether your UK Notified Body has established itself in an EU-27 Member State as some UK Notified Bodies have relocated to the EU-27. 
  • If they have not established themselves in an EU Member State, please consult the EU 'NANDO' website to find an EU Notified Body. The EU 'NANDO' website is a database of all the EU Notified Bodies that can carry out conformity assessment under EU product legislation.


Post- Brexit, the UK also intends to roll out an equivalent to CE marking, called 'UKCA' marking, which will be required instead of CE marking in order to access the UK market post-Brexit.


More information on CE marking, conformity can be found at:

As you ramp up your contingency plans, SFA is here to help. Please get in touch if you would like to talk to our policy expert, or HR professional or if you have any other queries or comments.

Protect your Business from Fraud

As part of the recent Fraud Awareness Week the fraud prevention initiative FraudSMART has updated its ‘Protect your Business from Fraud’ publication...

Most businesses would like to think that they are protected against fraud. However, fraud against Irish businesses is on the rise. While most financial frauds still use telephone and emails to commit the crime, the frauds themselves are increasingly sophisticated. You are likely to get an email or a phone call from somebody you know’ and ‘trust. Fraudsters will manipulate their targets using what is known as ‘social engineering’  essentially, they use information that is publicly available to trick you into taking an action that may not be in your company’s best interest. With many advances in technical security to prevent banks and companies being hacked, fraudsters have turned to targeting businesses directly. FraudSMART is a fraud prevention initiative which aims to raise consumer and business awareness of the latest financial fraud activity and provide simple advice on how best they can protect themselves and their money. As part of the recent Fraud Awareness Week, FraudSMART has updated their publication on how to Protect your Business from Fraud’. Here are some of the top tips from the publication. 


Top tips to prevent fraud in your business 


Be Informed  

  • Ensure employees are fraud aware and understand the controls and procedures in place to prevent fraud.
  • Don't assume you can trust caller IDs. Phone numbers can be spoofed so it looks like a particular company is calling even if it is not the real company.  
  • Fraudsters may already have basic information about you or your business in their possession (e.g. name, address, account details), do not assume a caller is genuine because they have these details.  

Be Alert  

  • Be wary of payment requests that are unexpected, irregular or require changes to bank account details, whatever the amount involved.  
  • Always exercise caution when forming new relationships with potential customers, undertake appropriate due diligence.
  • Always check your bank statements, and if you notice any unusual transactions, report them to your bank immediately.  

Be Secure  

  • Don't allow yourself to be rushed. Take your time to do the relevant checks.  
  • If a supplier/service provider requests bank account details to be changed have a verification process in place before making payments.  
  • Ensure security and software is regularly updated and maintained using official and reliable software. 


To download the FraudSMART brochure simply click here. 

SFA Skillnet

An update on SFA Skillnet and our new online training programme...


Last week was our most successful week so far for the SFA Skillnet with over 100 people attending our training programmes and our Managing a Business in Challenging Times Breakfast Briefing.


If you have any needs for training or feedback on our schedule, please pick up the phone or email. We can also help organise and part-fund in-house training so get in touch if you would like to discuss this option. You’ll find information on our courses for business here: SFA Skillnet Courses


NEW Online Courses


SFA Skillnet recently has launched the new online training programme. It is being delivered in partnership with Maybe International and its founder Brian F. Smyth. Brian has over 20 years of experience helping organisations in different parts of the world to achieve new levels of performance, success and overall well-being. The online programme is competitively priced – SFA member rate €65 – and can be accessed here.


Contact Geraldine Lavin, the SFA Skillnet Network Manager, on geraldine.lavin@sfa.ie or 087 7871642 to discuss your training needs.


The SFA Skillnet is co-funded by Skillnet Ireland and member companies. Skillnet Ireland is funded from the National Training Fund through the Department of Education and Skills.

SFA diversity series - a focus on age diversity - webinar
  • 23 October 

SFA will be hosting a 30 minute webinar on age diversity on 23 October. With up to five generations working along side each other and more employees looking to continue working beyond the traditional retirement age, misunderstandings may arise amongst the generations. This is where diversity and inclusion can help businesses manage a multi-generational workforce in a proactive way.


This webinar will explore how small businesses can embrace age diversity as well as provide practical ways to help their employees thrive and maximise the opportunities that age diversity can offer.


The webinar is a free event for SFA members and is part of the SFA diversity series, so why not make age diversity your agenda for 2020, register your place today and join us at 11am on 23 October.

SFA Annual Lunch 2019
  • 15 November

The SFA Annual Lunch will take place this year on Friday, 15 November 2019 in The Round Room at The Mansion House, Dublin.

We are delighted to announce that we will be joined by motivational speaker and mentalist, David Meade. David is a world-class international corporate speaker, performer and TV personality with a renowned reputation for helping organisations work more effectively. His mindreading, and mentalist skills impress and baffle worldwide audiences making his entertainment and keynotes hard to forget. 

The SFA Annual Lunch is the primary social event for small business in Ireland and an excellent opportunity for you, your colleagues, clients and guests to come together and network in a relaxed environment. Sponsored by Bank of Ireland, it promises to be a great afternoon.

Individual places for members are €85 plus VAT, and €150 for non-members plus VAT. Book here for an individual place or a table of ten.

For any further questions, please contact Blánaid, blanaid.moore-leonard@ibec.ie

Insurance: The personal injuries assessment process explained - webinar
  • 20 November

Business are concerned about employee and public liability claims. To address these concerns the SFA have partnered with the Personal Injuries Assessment Board (PIAB) to help our members learn more about the personal injuries assessment process.

The Personal Injuries Assessment Board (PIAB) is Ireland’s independent State body which assesses the amount of compensation a person may be due in the case of a workplace injury or a motor/public place accident.

This webinar will help businesses understand the personal injuries assessment process. It will outline the way the PIAB delivers compensation more quickly, with lower costs and predictable outcomes. It will also take you through how you can best engage with the PIAB in the case of an employee or public liability claim.

Presenters will be…
Paddy Hewson, Senior Claims Assessor, PIAB
Elizabeth Bowen, Senior Executive, SFA

SFA members only please click here to register for webinar.